The grid of automated voices over the phone trying to solve a problem can seem unending, especially during a situation that requires help right away. When something needs to be resolved quickly, talking to an actual person instead of a computer voice is really helpful. With FastCustomer, avoiding the tangled web of re-directions, pressing buttons for options, and “Para Español, oprima dos” is simple.
Co-founded by Aaron Dragushan and Steph Hay in Washington, D.C., FastCustomer offers direct connections between customers and companies without requiring users press a bunch of buttons while on hold for long periods of time. “FastCustomer is a free app you can use to skip hold whenever you have to call customer service. No more navigating phone trees endlessly or listening to terrible music; instead, the app rings back your phone whenever a customer service agent is on the line and ready to talk,” Hay said.
FastCustomer has signed up over 3,000 companies for its service, with businesses on board as notable as Amazon and Citibank and as diverse as Kosher Delight and the National Rifle Association (although you might have to pull the phone from their cold, dead hands to end the conversation). After downloading the free app, which is available for both iPhone and Android with web plug-ins and versions for other phones on the way, users can select the company that- they need help from. After checking that the company is open, FastCustomer connects with the company, and navigates the phone tree in order to get to customer service. Instead of waiting on hold to talk to an actual person, FastCustomer will call the user once there’s a representative ready to talk.
Hay believes the demand to talk to real people is now greater than ever. “The standardization of customer service and the struggling economy are two main reasons I think people are demanding a return to human interaction these days. At the end of the day, we all want to feel like a valued customer. And we think one of the best ways to demonstrate that is by simplifying some of the company-driven efficiencies that delay human-to-human interaction,” she said. The upcoming web plug-ins on Chrome and Firefox will let people use FastCustomer to talk to a representative by clicking on a banner on the company’s website, making it even easier to connect directly.
What’s great about FastCustomer is that nobody is suffering here. Customers get what they need without dealing with the endless maze of automated choices, and companies seem more approachable by using the service and not making their customers suffer. You know who the only real loser is here? The Muzak industry. That awful piped-in music people hear on hold may very well be an endangered species. Let’s see if FastCustomer can make it extinct.